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Microsoft reports loss due to tax charge

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San Francisco (AFP)

Microsoft on Wednesday reported a hefty loss in the past quarter, as it set aside billions of dollars for taxes on profits it expects to bring back to the United States, following passage of a major tax overhaul.

The technology giant said its loss for the quarter to December 31 was $6.3 billion -- as it took a charge of $13.8 billion to pay its taxes.

Revenue for the company's fiscal second quarter rose 12 percent to $28.9 billion as Microsoft saw gains in business services and cloud computing.

Once the world's largest technology company, Microsoft has been rebooting as consumers shift away from Windows-powered computers to mobile devices.

This has pushed Microsoft to focus on the internet cloud, artificial intelligence and services for connected "internet of things" devices.

"This quarter's results speak to the differentiated value we are delivering to customers across our productivity solutions and as the hybrid cloud provider of choice," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

"Our investments in IoT, data, and AI services... position us to further accelerate growth."

Like other big multinationals, Microsoft is repatriating a large portion of its overseas cash holdings to take advantage of a favorable tax rate under the reforms championed by President Donald Trump and approved last year by Congress.

Microsoft has more than $130 billion overseas, and its repatriation will trigger a US tax bill estimated at $13.8 billion.

Microsoft has not said what it intends to do with its cash. Tech rival Apple has announced it would make major new investments with its repatriated profits.

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